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Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2494

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Pope Francis names Garstang priest as new Bishop of Lancaster


Pope Francis has named a Lancashire priest as the seventh Bishop of Lancaster.

Canon Paul Swarbrick, who comes from Garstang, was appointed by the Holy Father as the successor to 76-year-old Bishop Michael Campbell of Lancaster.

In a statement, Bishop Campbell, who is retiring having passed the age limit of 75 years, welcomed the news and thanked the Pope.

“The news of Canon Swarbrick’s appointment will give much pleasure to many, both within and beyond the diocese,” he said.

“A native son of the Diocese of Lancaster, Bishop-Elect Swarbrick comes to the office of bishop with considerable pastoral experience, having served since his ordination in a number of parishes here in the Diocese as well as a long period as a fidei donum priest in the Diocese of Monze, Zambia.

“I know he will use these gifts to the great advantage of the priests and people of Lancaster, who will be well-served by their new bishop. I wish Canon Swarbrick every blessing as he assumes this new and challenging ministry as Bishop of Lancaster, and assure him of the prayers of all of us that he will prove to be a true shepherd after the heart of Christ”.

Bishop-Elect Swarbrick, 59, has been a priest of the Diocese for over 35 years.

Born on 2 July 1958 to George Vincent Swarbrick and Alice Swarbrick (Horn), Canon Swarbrick has three sisters and one brother.

He went to primary school in Garstang and then on to Lancaster Royal Grammar school before training for the priesthood at Ushaw College, Co Durham.

He was ordained priest on 10 July 1982 at Ss Mary and Michael’s Church, Garstang, and served as assistant priest at St Mary, Kells, Whitehaven (1982-1983), St Maria Goretti, Preston (1983-1984), and St Cuthbert, Blackpool (1984-1990), where he was also chaplain to St Mary’s Catholic High School.

He volunteered to serve on the missions in Monze Diocese, Zambia, and spent 15 years there, returning to the UK in 2005, to assist at English Martyrs, Preston (2005-2006) and for a few months at Mater Amabilis, Ambleside.

In 2007, the priest was appointed parish priest of the Sacred Heart, Preston, whilst also in charge of St Walburge, Preston.

In 2010 he was appointed parish priest of Our Lady and St Michael, Workington – now the enlarged parish of Christ the Good Shepherd, Workington-Harrington, where he currently serves – and is also the local Dean (Vicar Forane) for West Cumbria. In 2015 he was made a Canon of Lancaster Cathedral Chapter.

Bishop-elect Swarbrick said: “The Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, His Excellency Archbishop Edward Adams, has informed me that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has named me Bishop of Lancaster in succession to Bishop Michael Campbell OSA.

“I give thanks to God for His unfailing care for the Diocese of Lancaster. In accepting the decision of His Holiness I must, first of all, acknowledge the example Bishop Campbell has given. He has been a faithful and generous Shepherd of the Lord’s flock.

“I must confess to being in a state of surprise and shock at my appointment, and to a feeling of great inadequacy when faced with what lies ahead. Since my ordination to the priesthood at Garstang in July 1982 this was never something I expected or feel prepared for.

“I have given my acceptance in a spirit of profound humility, deeply conscious of my unworthiness and sinfulness. It is a call to follow Jesus with greater trust and more generous love, ever mindful of what He has done for me and, ultimately, the fullness of life He calls me to share.

“I beg your daily prayers, your patience and your collaboration; our mission is to make our Lord, Jesus Christ more widely known and loved in the Diocese of Lancaster. I draw on the example of so many saints and martyrs, as well as on the witness and memory of my own wonderful parents, grandparents and family.

“Faced with so much that is unknown and uncertain I am comforted by the presence of the Good Shepherd who has promised never to forsake His flock. I will serve to the best of my ability.”


(Photo courtesy of the Bishop’s Office, Lancaster)